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Comments by mtc

  • Episode 3 of the original Twilight Zone series, "The Dummy," would be enough to make most us paupaphobes. See

    September 24, 2013

  • Better take a wink than swink.

    September 2, 2013

  • Carriwitchet has been treated on World Wide Words:

    August 27, 2013

  • There are probably far more of those who love trains than fear them.  On the opposite track from  siderodromophobia is  siderodromomania, an intense fascination with railroad travel.

    July 19, 2013

  • According to an online nutrition site, "...the amount of protein in a Whiskey is approximately 0 g."

    There's no protein in poteen.


    June 14, 2013

  • In German "berg" means "mountain," and "schrund" means "crack" or "crevice."

    The origin of "iceberg" suddenly snapped into focus--"ice mountain."

    June 3, 2013

  • I find it helpful to remember the meaning of "torii" through the image of the gate itself, two "T" letters with curved tops.

    May 31, 2013

  • Similar to "offing," the portion of sea visible from the shore," or " the near and forseeable future."

    May 28, 2013

  • Here's a link to an article about the imaginary worlds (paracosms) created by highly gifted children, e.g., the Bronte sisters:

    May 9, 2013

  • There is a "gut-bucket," and then there is "a bucket of guts." Confuse the two at your own peril!

    a gut-bucket (informal)

    someone who is very fat She introduced me to her son who was a real gut-bucket with tattoos all over his arms.


    April 29, 2013

  • Wagner is Dr. Faust's famulus or laboratory assistant in Goethe's Faust.

    April 25, 2013

  • "v. To rock or roll, as a curved body on a plane."

    PIE (Politically Incorrect Example:) Melvin found the stewardess' airborne titubations tittilating.

    April 19, 2013

  • Huggery is an archaic word which from context means "fight." Here is a usage example from 1622:

    They are much incensed and provoked against the English, and about eight months ago slew three Englishmen, and two more hardly escaped by flight to Monchiggon; they were Sir Ferdinando Gorges his men, as this savage told us, as he did likewise of the huggery, that is, fight, that our discoverers had with the Nausets, and of our tools that were taken out of the woods, which we willed him should be brought again, otherwise, we would right ourselves.

    Mourt's Relation (1622): Samoset Comes to Plymouth

    March 16, 2013

  • According to Wikipedia,

    Favrile is different from other iridescent glasses because its color is not just on the surface, but embedded in the glass.7 The original trade name Fabrile was derived from an Old English word, fabrile, meaning "hand-wrought" or handcrafted.8 Tiffany later changed the word to Favrile "since this sounded better".9


    February 18, 2013

  • Although griffonage is unrelated to the mythical beast, why do we associate birds with poor handwriting, e.g., the part-bird griffon and chicken scratch? We use bird plumes to write, but we associate bird feet with scratchy, illegible writing.

    January 23, 2013

  • So you might think because the Greek word for Lead is "molybdos," Molybdenum is the name for the chemical element Lead. But no, it turns out Molybdenum (Mo) is a separate element which in the past had often been confused with Lead, (Pb) from the Latin word for Lead, "plumbum."

    Lead being toxic, I wonder whether molybdomancers ever developed Lead Poisoning, "plumbism?"

    December 31, 2012

  • Or looked at in another light, "light song," "lumin (light) + "aria" (song)."

    December 26, 2012

  • Bling and "blingant."

    December 24, 2012

  • And then there's a tea cozy which performs a similar function for a teapot.

    December 16, 2012

  • "Librocubicularist" is actually one letter longer (17) than its definition: one who reads in bed. (16)

    There should be a word for words in this bloated class. Sesquipedalian and Polysyllabic don't quite fit. Time for a neologism. Let me suggest "polyepistularian."

    December 7, 2012

  • Great choice on this our national day of gastronomic excess (aka "Thanksgiving.") Here is a link to images of engastration including medieval delicacies like the Helmeted Cock, Pandora's Box, and the cockenthrice.


    November 22, 2012

  • Leave it to the French! An elegant word for stuffing or padding especially appropriate as we approach one of our national days of gastronomic excess here in the U.S., namely Thanksgiving.

    November 20, 2012

  • And for dessert, "chocolate mouffle?"

    November 19, 2012

  • The afterclap follows the upshot.

    Usage: The upshot of the election is Obama's victory, but the afterclap is the looney effort to secede.

    November 16, 2012

  • And let's not forget "amphidromic point:"

    am·phi·drom·ic point   am-fi-drom-ik, am-

    noun Oceanography .

    a point of almost zero tidal fluctuation on the ocean surface, represented on a chart of cotidal lines by a point from which these lines radiate.

    November 14, 2012

  • Chatoyant is a beautiful word, and now we have a rhythmic synonym. Did anyone notice the usage example "sentence," studded with gem-like words though it be, still lacks a verb? Or is the verb meant to be understood, perhaps?

    November 13, 2012

  • "Garter tweaker": grammaticaster; a petty or pitiful grammarian sometimes known as a "prescripticaster."

    November 9, 2012

  • Beautiful rhythmic word! Small whirlwinds which we see unexpectedly in odd places now and then, vanishing almost as quickly as they appear. Velleities of tornados...

    November 8, 2012

  • "Lucifugous," as applied to certain plants and politicians. Antonyms "luciphilous" and "photophilic."

    November 7, 2012

  • Democracy is built upon a stony foundation.

    Psephologically speaking, we live in a psephocracy governed by psephocrats whom we elect by psephographs. Psephologists, masters of psephology and psephomancy, make psephological predictions.

    Be sure to cast your ballot ("stone") in the presidential election today.

    November 6, 2012

  • To further divagate, "rabblement" appears to stray from grammatical norms by adding the suffix "ment" to a noun, "rabble," producing another noun, "rabblement." But according to Wikipedia, "ment" is used to form nouns from verbs--not from nouns. "Ment" is "used to form nouns from verbs, the nouns having the sense of "the action or result of what is denoted by the verb".

    November 5, 2012

  • Wow! Regarding the stench emanating from the crowd in the quotation from Julius Caesar, industrial strength bad breath, strong enough to make even the mighty Caesar faint like a damsel in a dime store novel, strong enough to rival the halitosis of Jabba the Hut. But I digress...

    November 5, 2012

  • "Bunfight at the O.K. Tearoom"

    November 2, 2012

  • "Fulminatory" includes the word "minatory, and the meanings relate; i.e, sending forth thunders is a warning, all of which might lead you to believe the two words have the same etymology, but in fact they do not. Still, I find the similarities helpful in remembering their meanings.

    November 1, 2012

  • At first blush I thought "grognard" referred to a heavy drinker--not to a heavy game player.

    July 27, 2012

  • The exact antonym is "meliorate."

    July 26, 2012

  • Somehow "fog belches" is the more appealing label to me: an eructative earth, dyspeptic of men, their depredations and pollutants, warning of the apocalyptic Belch to come in which she will finally shake off her tormentors in one big bilious blast.BURRRP!

    July 23, 2012

  • A word that inspires hyperbole and one-upmanship... For instance, there are also giga coasters (any full circuit coaster over 300 ft,) and strata coasters (any full circuit coaster over 400 ft).

    "Knock yourself out," as they say!

    June 26, 2012

  • "Thug" itself is of Hindu origin.

    According to etymoline:


    1810, "member of a gang of murderers and robbers in India who strangled their victims," from Marathi thag, thak "cheat, swindler," Hindi thag, perhaps from Skt. sthaga-s "cunning, fraudulent," possibly from sthagayati "(he) covers, conceals," from PIE root *(s)teg- "cover" (see stegosaurus). Transferred sense of "ruffian, cutthroat" first recorded 1839. The more correct Indian name is phanseegur, and the activity was described in English as far back as c.1665. Rigorously prosecuted by the British from 1831, they were driven from existence, but the process extended over the rest of the 19c.

    June 19, 2012

  • Conversely, there is the walleye.

    June 13, 2012

  • "Xeriscape" is another member of this desiccated clan.

    According to Wikipedia,

    " Xeriscaping and xerogardening refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift.

    The word xeriscaping is a portmanteau of xeros ξήρος (Greek for "dry") and landscaping, and xeriscape is used for this style of garden. Xeriscaping refers to a method of landscape design that minimizes water use."


    June 11, 2012

  • "Microwave eggs," a potentially explosive alternative...

    June 1, 2012

  • And then there's Judy Collins' folk hit, Both Sides Now, which begins:

    Bows and flows of angel hair

    and ice cream castles in the air

    And feather canyons everywhere

    I've looked at clouds that way

    But now they only block the sun they rain

    and snow on everyone

    So many things I would have done

    but clouds got in my way...

    Hear it at

    May 15, 2012

  • Rolig, your poem may have been inspired by Cloud Cuckoo Land in Aristophanes' play, The Birds. See

    May 15, 2012

  • I nominate "subiloquent" as the antonym of altiloquent.

    May 15, 2012

  • "Thaumatogeny" and its antonym "nomogeny" suit the argument over "Intelligent Design" so well I wonder why they have not been used more often. Perhaps the fact they don't trip off the tongue as lightly as Lolita has something to do with it...

    April 2, 2012

Comments for mtc

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  • Episode 3 of the original Twilight Zone series, "The Dummy," would be enough to make most us paupaphobes. See

    September 24, 2013

  • Better take a wink than swink.

    September 2, 2013